tv Elizabeth Warren Climate Town Hall CNN September 4, 2019 6:20pm-7:00pm PDT
indication of imminent climate change. what do you say? it's time to get some answers to voters' question. let's bring in massachusetts senator elizabeth warren. [ applause ] >> all right. let's get right to the audience, what do you say, senator? what's your question, diana? >> what was the first one? this was your big chance. i'm trying to help here, diana. >> thank you for this opportunity. most economists believe that a carbon tax is the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. would you push for such a tax and if not, please explain why you don't favor that approach. >> i think of this as what my mother taught me.
and that is you got to clean up your own messes and that means if you're going to be spewing carbon into the air and messing up the air for the rest of us, it's your responsibility to clean it up. and we've been talking about this for a long time. we've actually started putting parts of this in place in new england and other regional areas. but, yes, we need to say that those who are throwing the carbon into the air, that the rest of us have to breathe, that the rest of us have to deal with, are the ones who are responsible for paying for that. [ applause ] >> i'm there. >> yes to a carbon tax. how much? what kind of number do you got? >> i want to talk -- i'm glad you raised this. i want to talk about the ways we make change and how we think about change. we've been talking about a carbon tax for a very long time. we've had some regional experiments, some different places and it's been shown to have some good effects. but i actually have a more
aggressive plan that i want to move to. i want to think about the three areas where we get the most carbon pollution in america right now. and what are they? they're in our buildings and homes, right? what we're burning. it's our cars and light-duty trucks that we drive, and it's the generation of electricity where we're still using a lot of carbon-based fuel to make that happen. so you may remember that governor jay inslee said let's get tough on this and let's put in place some real rules about this. so what i've adopted is by 2028, we don't have anymore new building that has any carbon footprint. by 2030, we do the same thing on vehicles. on our cars and light-duty trucks. and by 2035, we do the same
thing on electric generation. that will cut 70% of the carbon that we are currently spewing into the air. that's how you make a real difference. >> let's go back to the audience for a question of how we'll be generating power. we want to bring in zach from staten island, new york. >> how are you? >> i'm doing good. are you feeling sustainable? good. >> what is your opinion on the prospect of nuclear energy to help replace fossil fuel and is what do the risks outweigh any potential benefits? >> you rightly point out about nuclear energy. it's not carbon-based, but it has a lot of risks associated with it, particularly the risks associated with the spent fuel rods that nobody can figure out how we're going to store these things for the next years.
we're not going to build any nuclear power plants and we're going to start weaning ourselves off of nuclear energy and replacing it with renewable fuels over -- we're going to get it all done by 2035, but i hope we're getting it done faster than that. that's the plan. >> thank you. >> you bet, thank you. >> when you look at germany as a model, they're ambitions, they're going to fall short. one of the problems they have is balancing types of power, when it's bright and sunny, they generate a lot of energy, when it's dark in the winter time, they have to use nuclear, they have to look for other sources. can the ambition meet the reality of phasing out fossil fuels and not using something like nuclear at least in the short term. >> it's also about storage. and to the extent we do a better job, for example, in how to store all of that energy, then you get to use solar power at
high noon but you get to use it at midnight. i'm going to tell you where i place my biggest bet and that is on science. i really believe in science. but really, the point is, this is a big part of one of my plans. we put a lot of money into the science and research into dwo , development. back when we first started talking about auto emissions when you couldn't breathe the air in l.a. and they said we got to roll back on these emissions, we set emission standards that at that moment, the auto industry said we got no way to meet them. and the answer was, figure out a way. they developed the converter and lo and behold, they cut emissions. so i see this as our moment. make that investment in science, make that investment in research and development. and that's how it is that we will both have more renewable
generation but more to the point, we will also have more storage so that renewable power makes more sense 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. >> you're on the debate stage, you're across from the president and he says the green new deal is a dream because we're 60% right now on fossil fuels. you're saying you want to put into research and get it done, but you don't know how right now. so you want to bet our economy on an ambition. what's the answer? >> he says the green new deal is a dream -- >> i'm assuming -- >> i'm just saying, where he is right now is a nightmare. [ applause ] >> and that's where we really do have to start this conversation. don't sit around and tell me what's not possible. sit around and look at what happens if we don't make change.
we've got, what, 11 years, maybe to reach a point where we've cut our emissions in half, and that's not just america. we're only 20% of the problem. that's a big hunk of the problem, but there's another world out there that's 80% of this problem. so you bet that this is a moment where we better dream big and fight hard because that's how it is that we're going to make the changes we need to make. now, part of it is going to be about research and development, you bet. part of it, we already know how to do, we know how to do off-shore wind, we know how to do solar. the question is, are we willing to put the resources into it, and my answer is yeah because the alternative is unthinkable. life on earth is at risk and if we don't make this commitment we not only cheat our children, we cheat their future and their children's future and that is
morally wrong. we have to be all the way in. [ applause ] >> let's get an audience question. let's bring in an environmental law student at pace university. >> fabulous. good to see you. >> good evening. someone who was born and raised in southern appalachia, would your administration support policies like the health emergency act, hr-250, that take into account the impact coal has in our communities and help provide a path forward. >> 250 says they're going to halt any permits for coal mining until there's an assessment done on surrounding communities. >> the answer is yes. we need to go where we were talking about earlier. you don't get to ruin the air for everyone else, the soil for everyone else.
we don't just to help giant corporations. they don't get to make our kids sick. they don't get to shorten lifespans because it increases their profitability. you know what i think is the fundamental question right now, how we got ourselves into this mess? how has it gone this long when the climate science year after year after year has told us it's get thing more and more dangerous out there, it's getting worse and worse for life on this earth. and the answer is because of washington. we have washington that works great for the wealthy and the well-connected. a washington that is working great for giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere. it's not working for the rest of us who see climate change bearing down upon us. when you see a government that works great for those with money, a government that works great for those who can make big campaign contributions and
higher armies of lobbyists and lawyers and it's not working for everybody else, that is corruption, pure and simple and we need to call it out for what it is [ applause ] >> fight back. [ applause ] >> senator, back to the scenario, you win the nomination, you're on the debate stage -- >> keep saying it. >> and your opponent says, okay, i get it, you want to run away from fossil fuels, fine, science, science, what about those workers -- >> i want to breathe the air and drink the water. >> and so do the people working at the fossil fuel companies. they're worried they're not going to have a job and all of the solutions go out into the future but damn them in the mead. what do you do to those men and women now who are worried about being displaced. >> this is one of the best parts about the green new deal. it's not only about setting the targets on green so that we save this planet, it's about a new deal for people who work. it's about justice for people
who's communities have been destroyed. it's about racial justice on environmental issues. it's about worker justice. so here's what i propose. i have among my many plans, one of the ones is about a green manufacturing plant. let me use that as an example. coming up, there is an estimated $17 trillion market for green around the world. think about it. green generation of power but also green to take carbon out of the air, to clean up the water, and, by the way, a lot of this stuff hasn't been invented yet. so you see this giant worldwide market, people want to do this, or at least feel like they need to because they see what's happening. what can we do? i've got a three-part answer to that. the first is, make the big investment in science and
research and development, the things we do best here in america. part two is we say to the world, you can produce whatever we come up with in our science, whatever devices, you can have it, apply it, but whatever is manufactured from it, you have to manufacture right here in the united states of america. that will produce an estimated 1.2 million new manufacturing jobs, good jobs, union jobs, not just jobs that pay less, not jobs that are an afterthought, but real jobs. that's part i of it. we want to sell this stuff around the world. that's how you generate a change in how we see both our economy, building unions, building good jobs, and at the same time saving our own nation and the rest of the world on the climate front. these are the kind of changes that we can make together.
and let me say one more thing about workers. i don't want to miss this chance. understand we need our smart workers. we need the guys and the gals who have been sitting around for a long time who know how to read plans and move big equipment and they know how to help us because we're going to need to rebuild our infrastructure around this country. there are places where we're going to need to harden our infrastructure. the oceans are rising. i visit a lot of port cities. i love in one. we are going to have to make big change and that means we need our workers. we need our workers to be there, to help us, to be partners in this, and quite frankly to have the good well-paying jobs as part of that. this is a win-win for everybody. this is how we go into the future and build an america that is both green and an america that's not just working for the profits for the fossil fuel industry but an america that's
working for everybody. [ applause ] >> a quick question about going from the worker to the consumer. today the president announced plans to roll back energy-saving lightbulbs and he wants to reintroduce four different kinds. one of them is the candle-shaped ones and those are a favorite for a lot of people, by the way. do you think the government should be in the business of telling you what kind of lightbulb you can have. >> come on, give me a break. >> is that a yes? >> no. here's the -- look, there are a lot of ways that we try to change our energy consumption and our pollution and god bless all of those ways. some of it is with lightbulbs, some of it is on straws, some of it is on cheeseburgers, right? there are a lot of different pieces to this. and people are trying to find the part that they can work on and what can they do. and i'm in favor of that.
and i'm going to help and support. but understand this is zpaktly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we're all talking about. that's what way want us to talk about. this is your problem, they want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your lightbulbs, straws, and cheeseburgers. when 70% of the pollution of the carbon that we're throwing into the air comes from three industries and we can set our targets and say by 2028, 2030, and 2035, no more. think about that. right there. the other 30%, we still got to work on. we don't stop at 70%. the point is, that's where we need to focus and why don't we focus there? it's corruption. it's these giant corporations that keep hiring the pr firms that, gets it all out there, so
we don't look at who is still making the big bucks off polluting our earth. and the time for that is passed. we have a chance, a chance left in 2020 to turn this around but we are running out of time on this one. so we've got to do this in 2020 and that means the first thing we've got to do is we've got to attack this corruption head on in washington and say enough of having the oil industry, the fossil fuel industry write all of our laws in this area. no more. no more. [ applause ] >> let's bring in a writer and climate organizer. robert? >> bernie sanders has endorsed the idea of the public ownership of utilities arguing we can't solve this crisis without moving the profit motive. would you be willing to call out capitalism in this way and advocate for the public
ownership of our utilities. >> gosh, you know, i'm not sure that that's what gets you to the solution. i'm perfectly willing to take on giant corporations. i think i've been known to do that once or twice. but for me i think the way we get there is we just say, sorry, guys, by 2035, you're done. you're not going to be using anymore carbon-based fuels. that gets us to the right place. if somebody wants to make a profit from building better solar panels and generating better battery storage, i'm not opposed to that. what i'm opposed to is when they do it in a way that hurts everybody else. you shouldn't be able to externalize these costs. that's the problem with fossil fuels right now. i think that the best way we go forward here is we open up the opportunities. we open up the possibilities. we invest in the science, we
invest in the manufacturing, we invest in the pieces that let us build a future together going forward. but i just want to be clear. we got to have tough rules that we're willing to enforce. and that means we have got to be willing to fight back against these giant industries. and that's where the whole thing starts for me. we put them on their back foot, then we have a real chance to make the changes we need to make. and that's what it's going to take. >> let's take a break. we'll be back and in a moment we're going to have mayor pete buttigieg will join us next. stay with cnn. >> announcer: cnn democratic presidential town hall is brought to you by sherm, creating better workplaces for a better world. go to shrm for more information. new align whole food probiotic.
[ applause ] welcome. in just minutes we're going to hear from mayor pete buttigieg and then beto o'rourke. right now we have senator elizabeth warren. let's get some more questions. thanks for being here so far. she's from a narrow isle of land in louisiana. thank you very much for being with us. what's your question? >> thank you, as you said, we've
been -- the first american climate refugees, we had a front-row seat to climate change for the past 20 years. i was -- had to move my home from my island home when i was little due to asthma and repeat flooding. if president, what changes would you make to support communities like mine who face communitiwide displacement? >> let me start by saying how very sorry i am. it's got to be heart to watch your homelands disappear like this and know that you've done everything you can do, but that the forces bigger than you have taken over. i see it this way. part i is that everything we spend on climate has to be about reducing our carbon footprint.
it has to be about justice as well, though. for people who have been displaced, workers who have been displac displaced, for people in communities of color who have for generations now been the ones where the toxic dumps got sited next to their homes. their children breathe the nasty particulates that brought on asthmas. and so part of this change is not only about reducing climate footprint, about reducing our pollution of this earth, but it's about trying to help those who have been injured from all that's happened. so part of what i have reference to in the plan, it's not all the way stretched out yet and so i'm still working on this and i want to work on this with the
communities that are affected is making sure that this money goes down to the community level, that it doesn't just all happen in two or three places around the country that can make the most noise, that are the biggest, that it doesn't go, i'll be blunt, to governors. it goes all the way down to the communities that are affected. and if i can, i just want to add one more piece. when i think about climate, it is the existential threat. it is the one that threatens all life on this planet. every day we're losing species. it's changing. so, when i first started thinking about how to describe what i will fight for when i run for president, i decided i wasn't going to do one climate plan. i decided i was going to try to look at climate in every part of the plans i'm working on.
so that means i've got a lot of places where this comes in, because that's how i see it. it's not going to be a one and done that's all confined. it hits in different places. for example on the policies about our relationship with our native tribes, it's about respecting the tribe's ability to be good stewards of the land. and a commitment as president that i will not approve any plans for the use of federal lands that are near tribal lands that can affect what happens on sacred lands that are sacred to our native american brothers and sisters, i will not do that
without the prior informed consent of the neighboring tribes. i think that's how we help tribes be the stewards of the land that they have been for generations and i know they will be for generations to come. >> all right. bill weir has a question. bill? >> let me tell you a story about neighbors in port arthur, texas. >> i've been to port arthur. >> this is the oil refinery. it's the biggest in the world -- or at least in north america. it is in port arthur but it's owned by a saudi arabian company. right next door, i met a family in a $60,000 house that can't afford to fix the mold from harvey even though they understand the problems, they would tell you, please don't shut them down because i will die of starvation before i die
of pollution. they're worried about jobs. what do you tell the pipe fitters in port arthur what will happen to them if these places go dark? >> i would say two things to them. the first one is, that's not the only job in port arthur over the next 20 years. i've seen port arthur. port arthur is going to need a lot of infrastructure re-building and strengthening. it's going to need a lot of help right on the water. those are good jobs. those are union jobs, those are skilled jobs. we have a lot of work to do and i hope the workers in part arthur will be a big part of that. that's part i. but part two is who's making the real money off port arthur and those workers? who's making that money? it's the investors, it's the saudis who own this company. how is it in a democracy that we could have a handful of corporations that year after
year keep dragging in bigger and bigger profits continue to rise while your home disappears, while your children have asthma. while people die. that's not right. and the reason this is happening is washington. washington is corrupt. it is taking money from the fossil fuel industry, from the big polluters and it's doing exactly what they want, which is mostly nothing. and if we don't call that out and attack it head on, understand in the next few years, there will be bills that will be called climate bills. they'll have fabulous famous, all the air has just been cleaned up, water is now pure and wonderful, that will be the name of the bill, coma, brough t
to you by exxon. we have to attack the corruption so long as those guys continue to call the shots, we're not going make the changes we must make. these changes are no longer optional. they're no longer there as a maybe, yes maybe no. there is our future. this is our children's future. this is our grandchildren's future and we are running out of time. for me, head on is to attack the corruption in washington that keeps washington working for these big fossil fuel companies. >> i want to bring in a video question. this is from connecticut. he was a commercial fisherman. he works as a shellfish farmer. what's your question?
>> hi, brent. >> my farm was destroyed by two hurricanes. warms waters is killing seed coast to coast and reducing yield. those of us that work on the water we need climate solution and need them now. the trouble is, the green new deal only mentions our oceans one time. this is despite the fact that our sea soak up more than 25% of the worlds carbon. so what's your plan for a blue new deal for those of us working on the ocean? >> i like that. >> make sure we can make a living on a living planet. >> thank you. i think it's a great question. he's got it exactly right. we need a blue new deal as well. good for you. i just want to say on this about the ocean. the rising acidify contamination and the fact that in boston, the lobsters move to maine. because it's too warm.
and the water. and the food for them doesn't grow appropriately. i talked to folks who fish. commercially. off the shore down by new bedford and gloster. they tell me they think pulling stuff and don't know what it is. so what do they do? one said i call my brother-in-law. who fishes commercially off the coast of florida. because i send in pictures and he says we used to catch those down here. now they moved to boston. and to the waters around massachusetts and new england. here's what really scares me. this isn't slowing down. it's speeding up. where are they going next? what are we going to be left with? we count on the oceans for life. not just for food. what it means in our entire climate. i love it.
you want to call it a blue new deal, count me in. but part of getting the carbon out of the air out of the water, out of the soil, is also about the change in what's happening in our oceans these big dead patches now in the patches of trash. which goes back to a point earlier. that is we can't just think about cleaning up the united states of america. we cannot just think about the east coast to the west coast. hawaii and alaska. we can't just think from the canada border to the border with mexico. we have to think about the whole world. and that's why many of my plans intersect. with our global opportunities and responsibilities. like i said, lots of plans. elizabeth warren.com/climate. >> we have a couple minutes left. let's talk about one of the
metrics of your commitment to the problem. it's the ultimate threat to life on earth. how much money you'll put towards it. you say 3 trillion over ten years and senator sanders says he'll do 16 trillion. does that mean he's more dedicated to this than you? >> no. but let me tell you why. and that is i have plans, i have a $2 trillion plan and picking up how we'll cut carbon emissions by 70%. by 2035. but we have to use all the tools in the tool box. this is is not a moment we saw we need to put money on it and we'll fix it. it takes money. don't get me wrong. it takes money to make this investment. we need to be willing to use regulatory tools. that's important. we have to use our position internationally. so my trade policy also includes
climate elements to it. here's a piece of it. i think that we need a climate adjustment. on products that are imported to the united states. think about it this way. there's something that takes carbon to produce. we can't export our pollution and say as long as they produce it across the border, somewhere else. then it's okay with us and we'll still buy it here. no, we want to create the right kind of competition for our industry here. we want to also think globally. the answer is you want to import something here in the united states we want to know, how much carbon was used to produce that? and let's think about equalize price on it. people want to get to the american market. you want to get to the american market, you have to sign onto some basic climate agreements. right? we are not going to give favored nation trading partnership
rights to countries that are polluting. we need to think in a global sense. that doesn't it's not dollars out of the treasury. but it has an effect worldwide. i think of this as we have to approach this from a lot of different ways. i proudly adopted many of governor inlees plans. he said have at them. my view is you go everywhere where there's a good idea. including a blue new deal. use them because the only way we'll make change is looking everywhere. and we keep testing it, figure out what works. do more of that. what country work. let it go. we have to make change and make it now. >> senator warren, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> pete buttigieg. who says change on the climate is personal for young people.
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